Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication. – Leonardo da Vinci
Quotes are great for inspiration, but if simplicity is sophisticated then doesn’t that contradict? The best way we know how to explain this contradicting is paradox.
Design + Chaos. Clean + Dirty. Straight + Off the Beaten Path.
Each of these seems to head a different direction than the other, however they are actually quite connected. If both do not exist, then there is no room for choice. And this is the point where you walk away confused and scratching your head. But don’t worry, we’ll explain.
Great stories exist because of the storyline an author created three parts: plot, climax, resolution. Simple. Yet Complicated. A nice formula. But a difficult result.
So on to the point of design. The point of design is to allow simplicity to rule it. Design is a product of imagination and art and sight and beauty and inspiration. And our role as design-ers is to allow for this realm of endless possibilities to not control us, but fuel us toward the simple solution to whatever problem we are working on solving.
This is the ultimate form of sophistication.
There’s a reason every great designer talks about throwing away ideas, how the best ideas never see the light of day, how they have to work really hard to pare down the offerings, create the most useful product or assemble the most efficient turbine.
So the next time you pull out your artboard, or open Photoshop, Illustrator or Sketch, be reminded that you are entering a sophisticated work that’s been going on for generations to create solutions to the world’s hardest problems that people don’t even realize the work that went into it because it seems so simple. Do this, be reminded of this, and you’ll understand the simplicity of design.